Richard Niess is in a bind similar to that of 1950s presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. He has the vote of every aware voter in the county but, to win, he needs a majority.
"I'm really not worried," says Niess, who's seeking reelection to a six-year term as Dane County judge against a candidate (Briane Pagel) who withdrew from the race too late to remove his name from the ballot. "Is he going to get votes? Yes. He could even get 30% to 40%."
In 2005, Niess got 71% of the vote against an actual challenger. But the April 5 election is expected to draw a flood of local voters for other contests, like Dane County exec, Madison mayor and state Supreme Court. And Niess admits "it's been awfully difficult getting any kind of visibility" for his race.
But even if "everybody who shows up to vote is completely uninformed," Niess reckons he'd still get half the vote. And any voters who have a clue will push things in his direction. Besides, he notes brightly, "I only need one more vote than the other guy."